The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is an annual event organized in Sturgis, South Dakota and infesting the Black Hills in the USA. This gathering of motorcyclists began in 1938 with a small group of Indian motorcyclists and focused on stunts and racing.
Over time, it has evolved into a diverse event that includes high levels of activities carried out in terms of consumption. The oldest membership is around 500,000, but in 2015 this figure rose to over 700,000. The rally lasts 10 days and generates about $800 million in revenue.
On August 14, 1938, the Indian motorcycle club Jackpine Gypsies organized the first motorcycle rally, which became the starting point for this event. The tracks, hills and fields where the rally takes place are still under the ownership and management of this club. The original name of the event was “Black Hills Motor Classic” and was founded by Clarence “Pappy” Hoel.
In 1936 he purchased the Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis and formed the Jackpine Gypsies two years later. In 1997, Jackpine’s Gypsies were inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and the following year, Joel was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame.
Motorcycle rallying was originally focused on racing and stunts. In 1961, the event was expanded to include Hillclimb and Motocross races. These races can include half mile races (19 riders entered in the first year), wall crashes, ski jumping and even car crashes.
The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held every year except during World War II. In 1942, the Black Hills Motor Classic committee decided to suspend regular events until the end of the war, citing a “lack of outstanding talent” at the time.
Over the years, the meeting has continued for seven days, beginning on the Monday of the first week of August.
In October 2016, the city of Sturgis expanded city dates to a 10-day format, with the rally now beginning on the Friday before the first week of August and ending on the second Sunday. In 2017, the rally continued for 10 days, starting from the first Friday of August.